A NEWLY-QUALIFIED nurse who was left "absolutely devastated" after her brand-new car was stolen, is celebrating its recovery.
Mckenzie Penman, of Spennymoor, was working at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Gateshead, on Saturday, when she realised her car had been stolen from the hospital car park.
Once Miss Penman had finished her shift as an adult nurse on the medical ward, she noticed her car key was no longer on her keyring.
She could not find it anywhere and headed out to the car park only to realise the 2016 white Volkswagen POLO was missing.
The 22-year-old said she believes it was taken between noon and 1pm.
Speaking before the vehicle was recovered, she said: “I’m heartbroken. It happened on my second day back to work as I was self-isolating after coming into contact with someone with Covid at the hospital.
“I’ve been using my partner’s car but it is a struggle as he also works and studies at university. It’s been very awkward and the next two weeks are going to challenging. I live 25 miles away from the hospital so it’s not like I can just hop on a bus.”
Miss Penman qualified to be an adult nurse seven weeks ago and said the car was a treat for qualifying.
She has been working throughout the pandemic and feared she would not be able to afford a new car.
She said: “If it’s not found I don’t know how I’m going to sort another car out. My partner and I have just bought our first house together so all of our savings have gone into our new home.
“It’s horrible just knowing someone else has been in your car - it knocks you sick. The person who has stolen it might have Covid so I could contract it from them and then spread it.
“At the minute I’m trying to sort lifts out with family but I don’t want to put people in that position as I could contract Covid if I’ve been in contact with a patient who has it. It’s a nightmare and I’m absolutely devastated.”
Following the theft, Miss Penman contacted the police who launched an investigation.
Yesterday at around 11.30am, she was overjoyed when she received a call that the car had been found by police near a block of flats in Gateshead.
Police have arrested a 28-year-old on suspicion of theft of a motor vehicle.
He remains in police custody.
Anyone with information should contact police via the ‘Tell Us Something’ page of Northumbria Police’s website or by calling 101 quoting log 874 241020.
Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800-555111.